So many eggs!

I’m loopy on percoset and writing from my phone but wanted to give you all an update:

53 eggs retrieved
30 mature

Understandably,  I’m in a lot of pain and have been prescribed a bunch of meds to shut things down and avoid OHSS. Send me some healing woo.

Fertilization report tomorrow!  They are expecting lots of good embryos!

Here We Go!

Just got the call from Nurse T and we are a GO FOR TRIGGER!

I will do a final dose of folli.stim tonight, then a shot of lup.ron at 10:45pm today, another at 10:45am tomorrow, and get the eggs sucked outta my ovaries on Wednesday morning! I currently have 11 follicles at the ‘over 16mm’ desired size and ‘a ton’ at 14 or 15. Nurse T thinks we will get 22 eggs at retrieval! 

This is the first of many landmarks I am excited to be hitting in this process, although there are many many more to come. Thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts – you can keep ’em coming!

Still Going! Stim Day 8

Hi Friends! I’m sorry for the silence . . .though I doubt anyone has been waiting with bated breath for my follicle u/s updates. I guess if you have been, I’m sorry?

In any case, the cycle is still going – which is the best and most important news, as far as I’m concerned! For those of you who like data, here’s the news:

FRIDAY 4/ 25 – Stim day 5: E2= 1524, follicles ranging from 8mm-14mm, at least 10 on each side (only the largest 10 are recorded, but I have more than this) 

SATURDAY 4/26 – Stim Day 6: E2= 1759, follicles ranging from 9mm- 14mm 

increased follis.tim to 200IU (from 150 previously)

SUNDAY 4/27 – Stim Day 7: E2= 1095, follicles ranging from 9mm-16mm

Increased foll.istim to 200IU

I’m still waiting to hear back about today’s results. 

Here are the things occupying my thoughts about this process right now:

  • I’m, of course, hella nervous about the fact that my estradiol fell from 1759 to 1095, and hoping to God it went back up.
  • Its become patently clear that there is a serious range in job quality between the weekend ultrasound techs and my usual weekday faves. The fact that the follicle measurements are so off is one indication. The fact that the lady yesterday ‘couldn’t find my uterus’ but it was quite clear even to me today, is another. 
  • According to Nurse T on Friday afternoon, we may trigger tomorrow for a Thursday retrieval. The on-call nurse yesterday said trigger might be today. Fave U/S tech said probably tomorrow.
  • I can definitely feel that my ovaries have swollen up, although, probably thanks to my already well endowedness and propensity towards more loosely fitting clothing, I’m not experiencing any clothing issues. I do feel nauseated and bloated and generally disgusting though, but I hear that goes with the territory. 
  • Despite my anxiety about test results, I am doing a pretty fine job of trusting what the doctors and nurses are saying and staying the hell off google. I mean, not entirely. I’m still calling it a win. 
  • It is a sweet cool sunny day – just like I like ’em, in the 50s and a little chill – and I am sweating like a damn pig. Is this the estrogen? 

But now I need to get my ass back to work, since I have a looming deadline and am not sure exactly when I might have to make room for egg retrieval (!)

 

Data Update: Day 5 of stims

Feel free to skip this one if you either don’t care or don’t understand the IVF jargon. The gist is this: new protocol is working!

Yesterday I went in for my first scan and blood draw since starting stims. It was, predictably, more angst ridden than prior appointments have been. Although last cycle didn’t get cancelled until day 6 of stims, in retrospect it was pretty clear something wasn’t working at that point. 

So, into the office I went at 7:45am. Monday-Thursday I can go to the clinic’s satellite office, which is closer to both home and work, less busy, and has my favorite phlebotomist and ultrasonographer. Kathy, the best U/S tech EVAR eased my anxiety almost immediately, telling me my follicles already looked bigger than last time – the biggest at 13mm. 

The official report, however, had to come from Nurse T who didn’t call until almost 4pm. Last cycle, I got all of my mediocre/good news calls around 1:30-2, and got the bad news call much later, so I’ll admit that I was experiencing some trauma about the timing of the call. 

But it all turned out fine! Here are the numbers, for those who care (along with comparisons from last cycle at this point)

  • E2= 602 (last cycle – 72) – this is significant and a very important improvement
  • Left Ovary has many measurable follicles (they only record the largest 10) = 2@7, 3@8, 3@9, 1@13 (Last cycle = 1@4, 1@5, 2@6, 3@7, 3@8)
  • Right Ovary has many measurable follicles (only largest 10 recorded here) = 1@5, 1@6, 4@7, 2@8, 2@9 (Last cycle = 2@6, 4@7, 3@8, 1@9)

So, the left ovary is outperforming the right this time around, and I have a very small (and thus far, unfounded) fear about that 13mm follicle becoming dominant, but in general I’m feeling incredibly relieved. We might actually make it to egg retrieval! No change to the protocol – sticking with follis.tim only in the PM for now. 

In other news . . .I finally got my pin up tattoo finished – after a year and a half of not getting work done because of the 2 week on/2 week off TTC cycle that didn’t allow for an advance appointment with my artist. Its so lovely and wonderful and makes me feel so good about my body. (For those of you worried, I got the OK from Nurse T before I booked the appointment!) I think I might be losing my steely reserve though. After years and many tattoos (in a variety of places, many of them very bony or otherwise less-than-easy tattoo spots) I finally hit a point during my session last night where I almost had to ask her to stop. This is certainly the largest area of my body I’ve had worked on at any one time, which might be contributing to my sissified state. My tattoo artist, however, did say something like “well, this is nothing compared to all of the awful fertility things you’ve had to do, I’m sure.” Almost verbatim what my RE has said about having to face the many sticks and pokes of the IVF cycle. At least everyone still thinks I’m a badass.

I’ll have pictures up soon, and hope to have an update from this morning’s scan and blood work coming soon!

 

Bravery (day 1 . . .2 . . .1.5 of stims)

Mostly, I enjoy having a standing desk at work – it has really helped my sciatic pain, makes me more aware of how I spend my time, and forces me to take breaks. But, what I don’t like about the standing desk is my inability to curl my body over it while my uterus contracts with cramps. I mention this because it is the thing I am thinking about right now, here, in this moment: how badly I just want to melodramatically hurl my body over my desk in pain.

I guess I’m lucky to be sensitive enough to the birth control that I bleed when it goes away, but I have a feeling my body is rebelling . . .after all, I bled less than three weeks ago thanks to provera, and my uterus is probably thinking ‘um, what exactly am I supposed to flush out of here again? I’m not sure so I’m just gonna contract reeeeealy hard.”

Of the many fun infertility related games: “What Will My Period Be Like After THIS Set of Medical Manipulations?” 

Last night was the first shot of follist.im for the cycle. Buddy S came over to help La with the shot – which means I got poked twice in the upper right arm – but you guys, she did it! La gave me a shot! She broke down in tears right after, but I was so proud of her bravery! It can be hard when something is totally no big deal to you to really understand the depth of hardness involved for someone else. This was really hard for La, and it took me a long time to truly understand the challenge she was undertaking on behalf of our family. I’m really, really proud of her.

So, one down. Who knows how many to go. I’m hoping to have a stellar report on Thursday, although I’ll admit there is a seed of doubt that just wasn’t there last time.  I’m trying to put some trust in my doctor, God, my body . . .all of them provide their own difficulties. 

Yesterday, we ‘came out’ about our infertility on facebook. La and I have been fairly open about it – most of our closer friends and family, as well as my coworkers, know at least some information, many of them in great detail. I can’t imagine not having had that level of support for the last year, although I know it is, unfortunately, reality for lots of folks. Coming out to a much broader social network was intimidating but also important, for me, anyway. In part, its who I am. And this process, especially the double edge of being queer and infertile, is one I think the world – or my world, anyway – should know about, We got a really positive response from lots of people – I imagine the haters knew enough to keep their mouths closed – and a few folks said they were grateful to know they weren’t alone in the trenches.

So, cheers to bravery all around. And Happy (?) Infertility Awareness Week. Someone bake a fertility diet approved cake, yeah?

Suppression Check. . .

Thanks for all your sweet comments about Hilda.  She’s a doll,  really.  So sweet and mellow and smart. 
Today was my suppression check and wet got the all clear.  . . Start folli.stim tomorrow evening,  no meno.pur yet.  All shots intramuscular in the deltoid.  La had steeled herself and will be doing the shots. 
Keep all the things crossed weer make it to retrieval this time! 

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As you can see,  Hilda and Cletus ate getting along swimmingly.

“Guess what day it is?”

Asked La, as we lay drowsily in bed this morning. 

“It’s no more nuva.ring day!” I cheered.

She looked annoyed, and then did her best bad-insurance commercial camel impression, “HUMP DAY!”

As of 8 o’clock this morning, I am nuva.ring free, making us that much closer to IVF #1.5 starting officially. Yippee!

Other countdowns:

*Three days till baby bulldog!

*four days till suppression check!

Yippee! 

Four years . . . two years . . .one year on

It’s April 14th, 2014! The day before your taxes are due (so I hope you’ve done ’em!) It’s also the second anniversary of me and La’s G.L.E.E. (Gay Love Extravaganza Event!) 

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We called it a GLEE to disentangle it from all the B.S. that comes with “wedding” and also because two years ago, there was no legal recognition for our relationship. But, if I’m being honest, its mostly because the idea of a “wedding” really freaked me out and I didn’t want there to be disappointment when we didn’t have things like white dresses or bridesmaids. So, we had a GLEE.

Should I tell you the story of how La and I met? I don’t think I have yet. I think its a good story. Maybe you will too!

I was working as the program director for our local LGBTQ Youth Drop In Space. By the time we met, I was on my downward slope to burnout due to organizational politics, but I was still loving my job most of the time. The Director of Development (whom I continue to harbor deep loathing for, although at this point it was just general dislike) contacted me and said she had a friend who was an actress who wanted to come and work with ‘the kids.’

*Side note: when you work with marginalized (or really, any) youth, there are always LOTS of adults who want to offer their special skills to those youth to make themselves feel good, but who usually don’t want to actually have to interact with or deal with the reality of those youth. I had developed a pretty intense skepticism about people who wanted to work with “the kids.”

I said, “Ok, have her contact me.” So she did. And I wrote her an e-mail saying, “If you want to do this you need to come in and propose the idea to the youth council and they will decide if they want you to offer something.” Aside from being a youth driven space, this was a tactic to avoid some of that self congratulatory BS that I saw so much of. And she said, “Ok.”

So, I scheduled a time for the actress to come in and meet with the youth council. On the day of our meeting, I walked out to the front of the building to use the bathroom and spotted this super hot woman. Since I worked at the LGBT community center, it wasn’t unusual for hot, super gay women to hang around at my work. But this one was particularly hot. As I sat down on the toilet I realized that the woman out there was probably the actress I was supposed to be meeting with.

Which was a problem because I am terrible at approaching people I think are hot. And I had to approach her. And I’d kind of been a dick over e-mail to her. Shit.

But, I pulled it together, exited the bathroom, and said, “Hi. Are you La? I’m Andie. I think we have a meeting.”

Of course, because La is who she is, the youth thought she was amazing and OF COURSE wanted her to come in and do a theater program with them. Which meant I was going to be seeing a lot more of her. And, I was going to be a technically supervisory role. Shit.

I happened to be in the midst of ending a pseudo-relationship (with a co-worker because I was making *really good* life decisions at that moment, clearly) and so the whole thing got side tracked for a while. Until one night, when shit had kinda hit the fan with the other girl, and I stumbled across La’s profile on OKC. And I sent her a message that said, “If you ever want to hang out when there aren’t 40 queer youth running around, you should let me know.” 

And she replied, “I would love to hang out, let’s keep things friendly and professional.”

Friendly and professional?!? Well, if that wasn’t a shut down without actually shutting me down, I don’t know what was. But, we made an agreement to meet at a local coffee shop on a friday, the week before Christmas, at 10am.

During the conversation, La spent a lot of time talking about how she was recently out of a relationship, and really just wanted friends. Friends. I wanted to say, “hey. I get it. You’re not interested.” But we kept talking, for hours. Until after 2pm, making me late for work. Still, all signs pointed to “not gonna happen.”

La went back to Indy for Xmas, and while she was there, I posted on FB that I wanted to go see a particular movie. She replied (b/c of course we were FB friends by now) that I should wait till she got back so we could go together. Feeling confused but excited, I agreed. She then added that she would be house sitting for a place that had a hot tub, and maybe we could go over there afterwards. Which confused me even more.

So, we went to see Precious (not generally good first date material, I’d say) and went back to the house sitting house to hot tub. And we talked for more hours. And I got more confused and also more smitten. But, still nothing definitive.

Until the next day, when she called me, and during our conversation I mentioned having a cramp from the hot tub jet, and she offered to massage my back for me. Bingo. The lightbulb went off. I was in.

A few months later, after we’d been on many dates (while successfully keeping things quiet so the youth didn’t know about it) we made it official on Feb. 14th, 2010. Two years later, we had a GLEE. A year after that, on May 1, 2013, we got a civil union. Someday soon, we’ll had one more anniversary to that list, when we can get ‘real married.’

On Saturday, we drove up to the old opera house where we had our GLEE, and ate dinner at the attached restaurant (prime rib, because while it was on the menu for our GLEE, we were too busy to actually eat any of it.) We also bought each other jeans, because the second anniversary is the “cotton” anniversary.  Tonight, we are going out with BFF and BFFBF and our other best buddy SH to celebrate with community an event which we feel was deeply tied to our community. It wasn’t just La and I who got GLEE’d, we asked all of the people we love to support us, so they’re in the mess now too. 🙂

We are back to the bulldog puppy countdown – four days!

And the nuva.ring countdown is just one! It comes out on Wednesday!

Suppression check is only 5 days away, on Easter Sunday. I am excited to have this cycle be reborn as well.

And it’s Holy Week, which is one of my favorite weeks of all! My tiny but awesome church does a traditional Triduum – three days of services, with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil spanning a single liturgy over three days and many hours. Its wonderful. And then we have a dance party. Because nothing says “he is risen!” like a dance party.